Ad Gridley was 18 when he had his first cannabis joint while on a gap year in Canada. He had no idea his choices then would – most likely – be the trigger for a 15-year unremitting, downward spiral that would see him diagnosed with schizophrenia and make multiple suicide attempts.
“Your session was [the students’] favourite across the module and some even said you had changed the way they practice as a nurse…”
Samantha Chapman | Senior Lecturer in Skills & Simulation & Mental Health at Birmingham City University
“Positive - engaging style, informative and extremely knowledgeable on subject area”
Liz Hawkins | Senior Lecturer in Life Sciences at the University of Westminster
“…[feedback from students was] extremely positive...” “…[Ad was] honest, engaging, approachable…”
Debbie Green | Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy at LSBU
“…The students valued the insight given…”
Vida Douglas | Senior Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Hertfordshire
“…A positive is how you share your personal experiences, and your thought processes during these experiences…”
Professor Joanne Brooke | Birmingham City University
“You spoke calmly, clearly and confidently… The honesty and openness of the content was respected and valued…”
Lindsay Woodford | Co-programme Leader MSc Sport & Exercise Psychology at the University of West England (UWE) at Bristol
“One of the main things the students liked was your relatability. You had a very engaging style & were gently understated in your points, creating some subtle humour throughout the seriousness of the topic”
Dr Robert Lyon | Lecturer in Exercise & Health Psychology at the University of Northampton
"[He] gave a very powerful and honest account of [his] mental health journey that was both moving and inspiring. [He] spoke with confidence and held the attention of a large lecture theatre for over an hour. [His] talk has proved to be an invaluable addition to our counselling diploma provision."
Dr Penn Smith | Senior Lecturer - Psychological Therapies & Mental Health - Leeds Beckett University
“I am the Module Leader of a large first year Forensic Psychology module looking at mental health problems and violent behaviour. Adam was an invited speaker and managed to deliver a fantastic lecture in early December 2019. He reflected on his personal experiences with great insight focusing on psychosis and what it feels to present with these symptoms and also shared his views on mental health services. The students enjoyed Adam's talk and provided some excellent feedback highlighting how inspirational his lively experiences are and how much they learned from him. This was an amazing opportunity for them to gain an in-depth understanding about mental health issues. I will be inviting Adam for future sessions across different undergraduate and postgraduate modules during the next academic year 2020/21.”
Dr Maria Livanou | Lecturer in Forensic Psychology at the University of Kingston
"I teach a large, final year Psychology module exploring the causes of, and interventions for, mental health problems. Adam delivered an excellent teaching session to my students in May 2019. He discussed the factors that played a key role in the development of his mental health problems, what it was like to experience psychosis, and what interventions were important in his recovery. Adam covered these sensitive topics thoughtfully and with a great deal of humour. He touched on his own experiences, as well as his perceptions of the experiences of those around him, which was very useful for the students. Moreover, because of the range of topics Adam discussed, I felt that the students could see how Adam’s experiences related to many of the topics they had learned about in the module, but that they were also presented with some new ideas about mental health.
Student feedback on the session Adam delivered was very positive and I will be inviting him to deliver another session in the 2019/2020 academic year."
Dr David Smailes | Department of Psychology | Northumbria University
Honest, personal testimonies and viewpoints from former inpatients of secure mental hospitals are rare. I’ve tried suicide six times, been committed ten times and even spent a few nights in a prison. I’ve got all sorts of scars from these times. I’ve lived in the shadow of severe mental health problems for years and now I want to help educate young people and their loved ones. There are serious potential hazards if you use strong cannabis, but, all too often, the risks are brushed under the carpet. It’s heart-breaking when lives are destroyed like this - essentially through ignorance. THC can cause psychosis, but I want to reassure those affected that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
At a time when cannabis is becoming more accepted as harmless (and the emergence of spice fanning the flames in favour of it), my story gains pace all the more. I was a bright, healthy teenager with good grades and a promising career in advertising. But I spent my gap year in Canada constantly getting stoned and returned to the UK a shadow of my former self. Back home, I fell into a cycle of suicide attempts and hospitalisations - resulting from inhaling this “innocent” plant. With these horrific episodes now locked in the past (and my life now a much cleaner place), I can provide insight and advice for others. I am available for interviews, one-to-one consultations or webchats. I can provide a glimpse of what it’s like to languish in hospital, waiting for your weekly wardround with a well-intentioned (yet over-worked and underpaid) psychiatrist.
I left school at eighteen with eight GCSEs and three A-levels. I spent a ruinous year in Western Canada, then returned for a degree course in psychology at the University of London. This fell through, so I attempted a degree course in Spanish and French at the same place. This didn’t go to plan either, so I enrolled on a two-year music GNVQ course, which I passed. Afterwards, there came a short-lived Biosciences and Health course in Leeds and then a couple of failed Open University courses. Throughout my failed attempts at higher learning, I was substantially addicted to cannabis. I’ve been in and out of residential psychiatric care because of the addiction from between 1999-2010. I now draw on my rather turbulent past to help others in similar predicaments to best navigate their obstacles. Currently, I’m a writer.
My book is nonfiction. It is 76,000 words. It’s a unique book because it shows the reader what it’s like to see the world through schizophrenic eyes. This book is written in the first person (currently, no other book can say this). With mental health stories increasingly featuring in films and in the media, my book can inform and reassure families dealing with these problems. It is entirely possible to recover from the fallout of cannabis-related mental health issues. While cannabis becomes more and more accepted as harmless, my tumbling down the rabbit-hole because of it grows all the more relevant. The book is written with humour, sincerity and empathy. I’ve battled with mental health problems for over a decade now. Along with the medication, I now fully appreciate the need for patience and understanding on the healing journey. With all of my experience as an inpatient and an optimist to call upon, I can provide helpful observations and insights for those that need it.
Engaging and honest
By Mr Reader on 27 May 2018 | Amazon.co.uk
"Very readable and an important insight. I work with teenagers and frequently hear arguments from them about the legalisation of cannabis and its safety as a drug. Sharing information about studies which question this blanket assumption of safety seems to have very little impact, so something new is needed if people are going to have a more balanced set of information before they reach whichever conclusion that they choose for themselves. This book meets this challenge in my opinion. It is not light reading, so I'm not sure that I would recommend it for younger readers, but it doesn't shy away from the life changing reality faced by some people who believed they were not taking a serious risk. With the odds significantly higher than a lottery win, "It could be you!" is a meaningful thought to have before choosing to take a drug for recreational purposes. Not that this book seeks to present arguments or data. It is a brutally honest account of living life with the consequences of a commonly used drug. A very worthwhile read."
I loved reading this book and would highly recommend it
By Nik on 15 June 2018 | Amazon.co.uk
"I loved reading this book and would highly recommend it. Every paragraph is titled, so its like reading lots of short stories that are linked by the authors journey; some made me laugh out-loud, others are very sad, lots just very bizarre, but all enlightening to what a person with mental health issues is dealing with. Cant wait to read his next book on his life since this book- please get writing it."
Great insight into cannabis causing Schizophrenia
By Silky24 on 14 May 2018 | Amazon.co.uk
"As cannabis use gradually becomes more popular and acceptable in society for recreational use, it’s useful to read first hand about the complications it caused to Ad Gridley’s mental health and the people around him. In Gridley’s case, excessive cannabis use lead to Schizophrenia."
An excellent read and a rare opportunity to see things from ...
By James S on 23 May 2018 | Amazon.co.uk
"An excellent read and a rare opportunity to see things from a very different perspective.. thanks to the author for sharing his story and joining the effort to raise awareness and de-stigmatise mental health issues."
By Daksha on 26 June 2018 | Amazon.co.uk
"Very good insight in mental health. I appreciate the journey of the author who should be thanked for sharing his experiences and very easy reading."
Profound and powerful
By Green on 16 July 2018 | Amazon.co.uk
"This is a book that is profound and powerful. This book shines a light on the unreported mysterious and overwhelming experience of cannabis –induced psychosis. This shows the impact how the very small things in life can become extreme barriers to do the things that one generally wants to do to live life. This book has humour, and has lighter moments. However, there is no getting away from the paralysing fear that Ad was dealing with for a long period of time. The fascinating insight about the experience of a range of mental health services and the importance of positive therapeutic relationships is useful for anyone to read about that is looking to work in this area of practice.
At the end of the book, I was left with hope. As Ad has come through some extreme distress to write and share his story is testament to demonstrate how individuals, with their family together can move from a place that is so desperate to one that has a future."
A journey of discovery for any reader
By Silver Nanna on 1 March 2019 | Amazon.co.uk
"Ad’s account of his experience, is a must read for anybody who works in Mental Health. For a professional, there are lessons to learn about how to or not to engage with somebody who is distressed and unwell. It made me laugh, sad and so grateful that society is progressing in it’s attitude towards mental health. Ad’s reflections are sometimes difficult to read , but his humour shines through. At the end, I was cheering, ‘ROCKY ‘ style, for his success and recovery."